Politics

Sam Dastyari Is Hitting Back At “White Nationalists” And “Fuckwits” After Being Racially Abused

A "patriots" group filmed their abuse in a Melbourne pub.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has condemned the rise of the “One Nation right” after being racially abused by members of a so-called patriot’s group at a pub in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Dastyari, who was born in Iran, was at the Victoria University Bar in Footscray with his colleague Tim Watts to promote his new book. He was ordering drinks at the bar when he was approached by a group of men who called him a “terrorist” and a “monkey”, and told him to “go back to Iran”.

The Senator responded by telling the men to “say hi to the United Patriots Front”, at which point the men identified themselves of members of “Patriot Blue”.

The men then followed Dastyari to his table, where he described them as “a bunch of racists” and told them to go away.

“What race is Islam?” asked the men, before Watts shot back “what race is dickhead?”

A four-minute video of the confrontation was shared on Patriot Blue’s Facebook page. Dastyari also shared a separate clip of the incident, writing “I don’t normally like to post about these people – it gives them oxygen – but tonight I’m making an exception.”

Stalked by racists

I don't normally like to post about these people – it gives them oxygen – but tonight I'm making an exception.

Posted by Sam Dastyari on Wednesday, 8 November 2017

 

Dastyari also addressed the incident during his scheduled question and answer session at the pub, describing the men as “Islamophobes” and “fuckwits”, and remarking that this kind of abuse was far from uncommon.

“All of this is the rise of the radical right in this country,” he said. “It is the rise of the One Nation right. These are people who feel incredibly empowered because of what Pauline Hanson has done for them.”

Speaking to ABC Radio on Thursday morning, Dastyari said he was “big enough and bad enough” to look after himself, but expressed concern for young people who are on the receiving end of similar abuse.

“I’m in public life,” he said. “There are 15- and 16-year-old kids in the schoolyard copping this kind of racial abuse and they don’t have the tools available to handle this.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten both condemned the incident this morning, with Turnbull telling Channel Seven there was “no place for racial vilification in Australia.”

But One Nation leader Pauline Hanson refused to do likewise, and instead told reporters in Queensland that Dastyari had “played up this whole thing” for publicity. Meanwhile her chief of staff, James Ashby, told the APP that Dastyari “gets heckled because he’s a wanker… and not because he’s a Muslim.”